Phonics & Reading


At South End Infant School, we use the Sounds-Write phonics programme to teach our children to read, spell and write.  Sounds-Write is effective in teaching pupils to read because it starts from what all children know from a very early age – the sounds of their own language.  From there, it takes them in carefully sequenced, incremental steps and teaches them how each of the 44 or so sounds in the English language can be spelt.


Sounds-Write is taught within a well-structured, incremental and coherent framework based on the knowledge – both conceptual and factual – on which the alphabet principle and thus the writing system is based and the three key skills needed to enable learners to use the principle effectively.


We teach the conceptual understanding needed to become a reader:

  • That letters are spellings of sounds: visual language is a representation of spoken language
  • That a spelling can contain one, two, three, or four letters:  s a t, f i sh, n igh t and w eigh t
  • That there is more than one way of spelling most sounds: the sound ‘ae’, spelt as in ‘name’, can be represented as ‘table, in ‘train’, in ‘eighty’, in ‘tray’, and so on
  • That many spellings can represent more than one sound: ‘e’ in ‘head’, ‘a-e’ in ‘steak’, or ‘ee’ in ‘tree’


Reading and spelling also requires expertise in the skills necessary to make use of the alphabet code and pupils need to be able to:

  • Segment, or separate sounds in words
  • Blend, or push sounds together to form words
  • Manipulate sounds (take sounds out and put sounds into words)


Sounds-Write provides opportunities for practising these skills on an everyday basis until pupils achieve the automaticity required for fluent reading and spelling.

This is the order in which children are exposed to sound-spelling correspondences from Reception through to Year 2, following the Sounds-Write scheme of teaching Phonics.


In Reception, the children learn The Initial Code:

In Year 1 and Year 2, the children learn The Extended Code:

If you would like to learn more about our approach to phonics, please register for the online course - it is free!



Reading is a fundamental part of learning as it is the skill that underpins everything that is taught, and opens the door to learning right across the curriculum.  At South End Infant School, children are given their own school reading book which has been carefully matched to their phonic ability.  The children also get a choice of a non-phonics book from the school library.  These are picture and non-fiction books that are greatly enjoyable and match our children’s interests.